SENSE OF TOUCH Reverse Finger Painting

This post originally appeared on January 9, 2011.

Who doesn’t love finger paint?  For this one I mixed it up a little and we painted straight on the table. . . FUN!!!  I usually use plain tempera paint, but just for you I found an actual finger paint recipe.  Well, I found more than one, because the first one we tried was not a success and lucky Little M was delighted to finger paint two days in a row!

Reverse Finger Painting

what you need: cornstarch ~ sugar ~ salt ~ cold water ~ food coloring ~ paper

To make the finger paint I used  recipe #3 from playingandlearning you will need:

1/2 cup cornstarch
3 Tbsp. sugar
1/2 tsp. salt
2 cups cold water
food coloring


In a medium pan, mix all the ingredients together to make the finger paint. Cook over low heat 10 to 15 minutes. Keep stirring the finger paint mixture until it is smooth and thick. After the finger paint has thickened take the pan off the stove and let the mixture cool.

After cooling, divide the finger paint into storage containers depending on how many colors you would like. Add a few drops of food coloring to each container. Stir the coloring in to the paint to determine the shade of color. You’re ready to finger paint! Cover tightly when storing.

finger painting

This container worked perfect for separating the finger paints.  It’s a tray for tempera blocks which make the BEST watercolors, but that’s for another project ;).  Don’t you just love Little M’s expression?  She couldn’t wait to dive it.

We used the kids little table but you could use any table,  it wiped right up and didn’t leave a stain.  ***please test it before letting your kids go wild on your expensive dinner table!***  Once you have the perfect spot, ask your little one to paint a picture on the table.  Little M’s picture looked like this. . .
finger painting Yes, she did start with six colors. . . you saw that right?  No, it didn’t take me a while to grab the camera.  She mixed them up before they even hit the table.  Amazing what a mixer she is.  For this activity I really wanted to show you what the possibilities are, so even though Little M experienced it fully in her own artistic way, I quietly made my own.  Please, please, please remember process is so much more important than product and let your kids explore this one without worrying about the final look!

finger paint

Paint a picture on the table.

finger paint

Lay a piece of paper over the art and press down with your hand.

Gently pull up paper to reveal your pressed painting!

Tips: 1.  I left the paint setting out to cool longer than I should have and it hardened up a little.  I just stirred it with my finger and it was softened right up.  2.  I used butcher paper, I cut large and small pieces.  You can use any type of paper for this.

Questions: “What do you think will happen to the paper when I press it into the paint?” “What words would you use to describe how the finger paint feels?”

Join me on Facebook for even more FUN.  

This post is a part of Sense of Touch lesson plan.


  1. Pingback: and the WINNER is. . . | amomwithalessonplan
  2. I posted some questions on the original site for the finger paint recipes, but see the author hasn’t been active for a while, so I wonder if you can help. Do you know the reasons for the different ingredients in the various recipes? Do more ingredients mean the paints can be stored longer? Does adding dishwashing soap just make clean-up easier? Thanks! My little one is loving the messy play, and I have been looking for safe paints, this post is great!

    1. I can’t answer any of your questions… but I propose a science experiment!!!! Why not try making several batches using different techniques, right along side of your little one. I would love to hear the results if you decide to give it a try 😉

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *